Biography & Memoir Ebooks

Read about the lives and legacies of the world’s most entertaining, successful or influential people. Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs tell the life story of an individual or groups of individuals, while providing entertaining and honest accounts of how they lived. Read authors like Ron Chernow, Ellis Amburn, and Núria Añó.

Read about the lives and legacies of the world’s most entertaining, successful or influential people. Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs tell the life story of an individual or groups of individuals, while providing entertaining and honest accounts of how they lived. Read authors like Ron Chernow, Ellis Amburn, and Núria Añó.

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New & Noteworthy: Biography & Memoir

  • Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief
    Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief
    Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief

    Ebook

    Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief

    byVictoria Chang

    A collection of literary letters and mementos on the art of remembering across generations. For poet Victoria Chang, memory “isn’t something that blooms, but something that bleeds internally.” It is willed, summoned, and dragged to the surface. The remembrances in this collection of letters are founded in the fragments of stories her mother shared reluctantly, and the silences of her father, who first would not and then could not share more. They are whittled and sculpted from an archive of family relics: a marriage license, a letter, a visa petition, a photograph. And, just as often, they are built on the questions that can no longer be answered. Dear Memory is not a transcription but a process of simultaneously shaping and being shaped, knowing that when a writer dips their pen into history, what emerges is poetry. In carefully crafted missives on trauma and loss, on being American and Chinese, Victoria Chang shows how grief can ignite a longing to know yourself. In letters to family, past teachers, and fellow poets, as the imagination, Dear Memory offers a model for what it looks like to find ourselves in our histories.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B. B. King
    King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B. B. King
    King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B. B. King

    Ebook

    King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B. B. King

    byDaniel de Visé

    The first full and authoritative biography of an American—indeed a world-wide—musical and cultural legend “No one worked harder than B.B. No one inspired more up-and-coming artists. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues.”—President Barack Obama “He is without a doubt the most important artist the blues has ever produced.”—Eric Clapton Riley “Blues Boy” King (1925-2015) was born into deep poverty in Jim Crow Mississippi. Wrenched away from his sharecropper father, B.B. lost his mother at age ten, leaving him more or less alone. Music became his emancipation from exhausting toil in the fields. Inspired by a local minister’s guitar and by the records of Blind Lemon Jefferson and T-Bone Walker, encouraged by his cousin, the established blues man Bukka White, B.B. taught his guitar to sing in the unique solo style that, along with his relentless work ethic and humanity, became his trademark. In turn, generations of artists claimed him as inspiration, from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton to Carlos Santana and the Edge. King of the Blues presents the vibrant life and times of a trailblazing giant. Witness to dark prejudice and lynching in his youth, B.B. performed incessantly (some 15,000 concerts in 90 countries over nearly 60 years)—in some real way his means of escaping his past. Several of his concerts, including his landmark gig at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, endure in legend to this day. His career roller-coasted between adulation and relegation, but he always rose back up. At the same time, his story reveals the many ways record companies took advantage of artists, especially those of color. Daniel de Visé has interviewed almost every surviving member of B.B. King’s inner circle—family, band members, retainers, managers, and more—and their voices and memories enrich and enliven the life of this Mississippi blues titan, whom his contemporary Bobby “Blue” Bland simply called “the man.”

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
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  • The Mirror and the Palette
    The Mirror and the Palette
    The Mirror and the Palette

    Ebook

    The Mirror and the Palette

    byJennifer Higgie

    A dazzlingly original and ambitious book on the history of female self-portraiture by one of today's most well-respected art critics. Her story weaves in and out of time and place. She's Frida Kahlo, Loïs Mailou Jones and Amrita Sher-Gil en route to Mexico City, Paris or Bombay. She's Suzanne Valadon and Gwen John, craving city lights, the sea and solitude; she's Artemisia Gentileschi striding through the streets of Naples and Paula Modersohn-Becker in Worpswede. She's haunting museums in her paint-stained dress, scrutinising how El Greco or Titian or Van Dyck or Cézanne solved the problems that she too is facing. She's railing against her corsets, her chaperones, her husband and her brothers; she's hammering on doors, dreaming in her bedroom, working day and night in her studio. Despite the immense hurdles that have been placed in her way, she sits at her easel, picks up a mirror and paints a self-portrait because, as a subject, she is always available. Until the twentieth century, art history was, in the main, written by white men who tended to write about other white men. The idea that women in the West have always made art was rarely cited as a possibility. Yet they have - and, of course, continue to do so - often against tremendous odds, from laws and religion to the pressures of family and public disapproval. In The Mirror and the Palette, Jennifer Higgie introduces us to a cross-section of women artists who embody the fact that there is more than one way to understand our planet, more than one way to live in it and more than one way to make art about it. Spanning 500 years, biography and cultural history intertwine in a narrative packed with tales of rebellion, adventure, revolution, travel and tragedy enacted by women who turned their back on convention and lived lives of great resilience, creativity and bravery.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
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  • The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice
    The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice
    The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice

    Ebook

    The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice

    byBobby Love

    The inspiring, dramatic, and heartwarming true account of an escaped convict and his wife of thirty-five plus years who never knew his secret, which captured the imaginations of millions on Humans of New York. Bobby and Cheryl Love were living in Brooklyn, happily married for decades, when the FBI and NYPD appeared at their door and demanded to know from Bobby, in front of his shocked wife and children: “What is your name? No, what’s your real name?” Bobby’s thirty-eight-year secret was out. As a Black child in the Jim Crow South, Bobby found himself in legal trouble before his 14th birthday. Sparked by the desperation he felt in the face of limited options and the pull of the streets, Bobby became a master thief. He soon found himself facing a thirty-year prison sentence. But Bobby was smarter than his jailers. He escaped, fled to New York, changed his name, and started a new life as “Bobby Love.” During that time, he worked multiple jobs to support his wife and their growing family, coached Little League, attended church, took his kids to Disneyland, and led an otherwise normal life. Then it all came crashing down. With the drama of a jailbreak story and the incredible tension of a life lived in hiding, The Redemption of Bobby Love is an unbelievable but true account of building a life from scratch, the pain of festering secrets in marriage, and the unbreakable bonds of faith and love that keep a family together.  

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
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  • There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century
    There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century
    There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century

    Ebook

    There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century

    byFiona Hill

    INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  |  "As a memoir this is hard to put down; if you are seeking a better American future you should pick it up.”—Timothy Snyder, New York Times best-selling author of On Tyranny A celebrated foreign policy expert and key impeachment witness reveals how declining opportunity has set America on the grim path of modern Russia—and draws on her personal journey out of poverty, as well as her unique perspectives as an historian and policy maker, to show how we can return hope to our forgotten places.   Fiona Hill grew up in a world of terminal decay. The last of the local mines had closed, businesses were shuttering, and despair was etched in the faces around her. Her father urged her to get out of their blighted corner of northern England: “There is nothing for you here, pet,” he said.     The coal-miner’s daughter managed to go further than he ever could have dreamed. She studied in Moscow and at Harvard, became an American citizen, and served three U.S. Presidents. But in the heartlands of both Russia and the United States, she saw troubling reflections of her hometown and similar populist impulses. By the time she offered her brave testimony in the first impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Hill knew that the desperation of forgotten people was driving American politics over the brink—and that we were running out of time to save ourselves from Russia’s fate. In this powerful, deeply personal account, she shares what she has learned, and shows why expanding opportunity is the only long-term hope for our democracy.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Things I Have Withheld
    Things I Have Withheld
    Things I Have Withheld

    Ebook

    Things I Have Withheld

    byKei Miller

    By acclaimed Forward Prize winner, novelist, and poet, Kei Miller's linked collection of essays blends memoir and literary commentary to explore the silences that exist in our conversations about race, sex, and gender. In a deeply moving, critical and lyrical collection of interconnected essays, award-winning writer Kei Miller explores the silences in which so many important things are kept. Miller examines the experience of discrimination through this silence and what it means to breach it — "to risk words, to risk truth; and through the body and the histories those bodies inherit" the crimes that haunt them, and how the meanings of our bodies can shift as we move through the world, variously assuming privilege or victimhood. Through letters to James Baldwin, encounters with Soca, Carnival, family secrets, love affairs, questions of aesthetics and more, Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice from a black, male, queer perspective. An almost disarmingly personal collection, Kei dissects his experiences in Jamaica and Britain, working as an artist and intellectual, making friends and lovers, discovering the possibilities of music and dance, literary criticism, culture, and storytelling. With both the epigrammatic concision and conversational cadence of his poetry and novels, Things I Have Withheld is a great artistic achievement: a work of innovation and beauty which challenges us to interrogate what seems unsayable and why, "our actions, defense mechanisms, imaginations and interactions" and those of the world around us.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption
    Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption
    Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption

    Ebook

    Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption

    byRobert McCrum

    * A Washington Post Best Book of the Year * "A remarkable book that takes us to the heart of Shakespeare's art and influence."—James Shapiro When Robert McCrum began his recovery from a life-changing stroke, he discovered that the only words that made sense to him were snatches of Shakespeare. Unable to travel or move as he used to, the First Folio became his "book of life"—an endless source of inspiration through which he could embark on "journeys of the mind" and see a reflection of our own disrupted times. An acclaimed writer and journalist, McCrum has spent the last twenty-five years immersed in Shakespeare's work, on stage and on the page. During this prolonged exploration, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, so vivid and contemporary, have become his guide and consolation. In Shakespearean he asks: why is it that we always return to Shakespeare, particularly in times of acute crisis and dislocation? What is the key to his hold on our imagination? And why do the collected works of an Elizabethan writer continue to speak to us as if they were written yesterday? Shakespearean is a rich, brilliant and superbly drawn portrait of an extraordinary artist, one of the greatest writers who ever lived. Through an enthralling narrative, ranging widely in time and space, McCrum seeks to understand Shakespeare within his historical context while also exploring the secrets of literary inspiration, and examining the nature of creativity itself. Witty and insightful, he makes a passionate and deeply personal case that Shakespeare’s words and ideas are not just enduring in their relevance – they are nothing less than the eternal key to our shared humanity.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation
    We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation
    We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation

    Ebook

    We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation

    byEric Garcia

    “This book is a message from autistic people to their parents, friends, teachers, coworkers and doctors showing what life is like on the spectrum. It’s also my love letter to autistic people. For too long, we have been forced to navigate a world where all the road signs are written in another language.” With a reporter’s eye and an insider’s perspective, Eric Garcia shows what it’s like to be autistic across America. Garcia began writing about autism because he was frustrated by the media’s coverage of it; the myths that the disorder is caused by vaccines, the narrow portrayals of autistic people as white men working in Silicon Valley. His own life as an autistic person didn’t look anything like that. He is Latino, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, and works as a journalist covering politics in Washington D.C. Garcia realized he needed to put into writing what so many autistic people have been saying for years; autism is a part of their identity, they don’t need to be fixed.  In We’re Not Broken, Garcia uses his own life as a springboard to discuss the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting those on the spectrum. From education to healthcare, he explores how autistic people wrestle with systems that were not built with them in mind. At the same time, he shares the experiences of all types of autistic people, from those with higher support needs, to autistic people of color, to those in the LGBTQ community. In doing so, Garcia gives his community a platform to articulate their own needs, rather than having others speak for them, which has been the standard for far too long. 

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
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